Govt to phase out landfills and adopt more eco-friendly waste disposal systems

Housing and Local Government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (left) being welcomed by Perak exco Yong Choo Kiong (right) and other Perak state officials at the Perak State Secretariat in Ipoh. - SAIFUL BAHRI/ The Star

IPOH: The Government will phase out landfills as a waste management method with studies underway to adopt more energy efficient and eco-friendly methods, said Zuraida Kamaruddin.

The Housing and Local Government Minister said that the ministry is currently studying four methods - the biomass waste management technology, waste-to-energy (WTE), incinerator or biodigester - to be implemented based on each locality's suitability and the type of waste involved.

"Phasing out landfills and replacing them with other more effective methods is the way forward and we want to do this as soon as possible.

"We are in the midst of reviewing all the existing waste management system that we have, including how long more they can be used," she told a press conference here Tuesday (July 10).

"If the land size, place, and timing are right with affordable cost, we will start somewhere by carrying out trials at certain localities under different local councils.

"I expect the studies to be completed by the end of the year. And if I have a complete study report I will be able to identify where I can start the plan."

Earlier, Zuraida had a meeting with Perak Speaker Ngeh Koo Ham, state Local Government and Housing Committee chairman Paul Yong, all 15 local councils' presidents and guests at the state secretariat building here.

Zuraida said that she aimed to decentralise the country's waste management according to local councils.

"My mission is for each local council to have a biomass system on its own, while the volume of waste and the technology's capacity will be studied.

"We stand to gain economically from the reduced costs of occupying and cleaning up land, processing waste in landfills while reducing pollution and environmental problems.

"There won't be a one-method-fits-all approach. We will see and decide based on each locality, the size of the wastes and capacity of each technology," she added.

She also said that the ministry would channel some allocations to Perak for its waste management, although the state did not sign the agreement to allow the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) to operate in the state.

Zuraida noted that Malaysia still relies largely on landfills although places like Pulau Pangkor, Cameron Highlands, Langkawi and Pulau Tioman have incinerators. However, some of them ran into problems.

"The incinerator in Pulau Pangkor proved to be unsuitable and it is not in use. The misfit happened due to the incompatibility in the incinerators's model and our wastes.

"Malaysians produce many oily food wastes, so when the American-made machine was used, it broke down. So we have to find better ways.

"But with this experience, we will find a better system that fits better our type of wastes," she added.

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